Business men and women who have been there before understand, every time you increase the size of your business one of the major processes that you used to get you there seems to break. It could be your sales process, management structure, distributing network, production capabilities, quality of service, financial model, or customer service. As your need for quality employees rapidly grows, perhaps you find yourself unable to uphold the stringent standards for employment you previously held; a concession which can have severe repercussions.
Individually, these are major obstacles to scaling your business.
Unfortunately, these breakdowns are almost never individual. As you grow, it is difficult to stay streamlined. Once independent departments become enmeshed, entangled with one another. What affects one, affects another, which in turn sends tremors throughout your business. In your efforts to rapidly scale, it is possible that a single breakdown can create a chain reaction which may gut your company.
With that said, let’s go over three essential tips for scaling your business. With these under your belt, you won’t have to worry about the daunting consequences of a poorly handled scaling opperation.
Consider What It Means To Scale
Before you commit to scaling your business, you should ask yourself this undeniably important question “What does it mean to scale my business?”
Scaling a business is very different from growing a business. To grow your business, all you have to do is increase your revenue. However, to scale, you must grow your revenue at a greater rate than you grow you operating costs. If you can get to the point in which adding revenue requires smaller and smaller increases to operating costs, then – bingo! There you go! You are ready to scale. In fact, you ARE scaling. Good for you.
For many of the reasons we have already covered, this process isn’t easy. It requires foresight, hard work, creativity, and a fantastic infrastructure. Failing to properly prepare can have dire consequences, even to the point of costing you your business.
Focus On Infrastructure
A strong infrastructure is essential if you plan to scale your business. Having a strong infrastructure is like having a strong foundation for a home. It allows you to build anything you want on top of it. But what does it take to build a strong infrastructure?
When we think of infrastructure here at Helix House, we divide the idea into two distinct categories: physical infrastructure and institutional infrastructure.
Pointing out physical infrastructure is easy. Your office is physical infrastructure. Your distribution network is part of your physical infrastructure. Your phone system is part of your physical infrastructure. Physical infrastructure is, well, a physical necessity if you are planning to scale. You can’t hire new staff unless you have somewhere to put them. You can’t triple the amount of product you send out unless you have the warehouse, shipping, employees to pull that off!
The key to consider when investing in physical infrastructure is to avoid investing in elements that will end up costing you more than they will make you. Remember to factor in reoccurring and lifetime costs. Resolving this equation requires that you take a very long view, looking potentially years into the future.
Institutional infrastructure, while a more esoteric idea, may be even more essential to your scaling efforts. Institutional infrastructure consists of the of the intellectual philosophies that govern your business. It consists of your organizational and management structures. It consists of the irreplaceable, unique, human talent that runs your business.
Strong infrastructure allows that final element of your institutional infrastructure, the talented people in your business, to leverage their skills, produce positive results, and create profit, in a scalable way, without running themselves into the ground.
So, focus on infrastructure!
We know. It may sound like a terrible cliché. An overused adage. A meaningless maxim. A pointless proverb. A pitiful platitude. But… it’s true. If you want to scale rapidly – and sustainably – you need to think big.
As we typically do with these things, we will start by asking “What does it mean to think big?”
Thinking big means searching for large markets for your product and services. It means thinking of fast and effective ways to expand your audience and your outreach. It means networking on a high-level, not just with people in your neighborhood or your town. It means looking at the scope of your business in terms years, not months. It means planning new income streams and powerful ways to monetize what you do.
Thinking big means totally revising the scope of what you currently do, and how you do it.
Finally, thinking big means saying “We may be a $5 million business now, but there is no reason we can’t be a $500 million business a few years from now.
With that we say,
Scale on, Friends!
And if your scale efforts require the best marketing and advertising you can find (hint, they will), then call Helix House. We will be looking forward to working with you. Also check out some of our recent posts on personal goals or how to create avatar profiles so you stand out across the web!